From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about what we would do if we were in charge of our favorite position group, team, conference, or sport. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our ”If I Was in Charge” articles here.
Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
This week’s topic: If We Were in Charge, what outlandish change would we make to Ohio State’s football team?
This week’s theme on LGHL is If I was in charge, which I interpret as: What change, policy, or procedure(s) would this rag-tag bunch of misfits make if we were ever placed in charge of something Ohio State-related? Or what would we have done differently in the past?
And with this theme or topic staring us both in the face, Gene and I decided to just embrace absurdity. I think we tend to play it pretty straight with our You’re Nuts column(s), but if you are going to give us potentially unlimited power, well then...
My first inclination was to say that if I was in charge, I would somehow go back and change the outcome of all Ohio State football losses to TTUN. However, that seemed kind of silly and not creative enough. I also wanted to stay within the realm of possibility, even if I was only hanging on to reality by a thread. So here’s what I got for ya, Gene:
If I was in charge, Ohio State would run a triple option-oriented offense. That’s right, baby! Triple. Option. If I was calling the shots, the Buckeyes would ditch their current and wildly successful passing game almost entirely, and instead adopt a ground and pound mentality. Crazy? Perhaps. But at least listen to my pitch.
OSU currently has four somewhat proven running backs on the roster in TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Dallan Hayden, and Chip Trayanum. They also have Evan Pryor waiting in the wings, a player most Buckeye fans were excited about once upon a time. That is a full stable of backs, all capable of bringing a little something different to the table. Yet only one typically sees the field for Ohio State (at any given time). I am going to change that, because not only will the triple option get more talented runners on the field, but it will also assuage the burden placed on Kyle McCord, Devin Brown, and/or Lincoln Kienholz.
Quarterback plays a huge role here. Not only in the triple option offense, but also in my thought process. Because OSU does not have an accomplished college QB ready to go in 2023. Sure, the current guys all have a pedigree and a great recruiting profile, but two-time Heisman finalist C.J Stroud ain’t walking (back) through that door, Gene.
My proposed triple option system will mitigate risks introduced by a newbie signal caller. And here’s the thing about McCord, Brown, and Kienholz: They are all fairly mobile. Brown and Kienholz, especially, were productive runners in high school. So Ohio State has the “horses” necessary to run this beautiful, beautiful offense.
Of course, you might be asking “What about all the wide receivers and pass catchers?” Well who’s to say they won’t be prominently involved? I am not above experimentation. Routeman Marv and Emeka Egbuka in the back of the wishbone, with Cade Stover as the up man? Let’s get wild. The depth pass catchers might get a little frustrated, and I recognize that, so my hypothetical and tongue-in-cheek recommendation/change will only apply to the 2023 season.
After this upcoming season, Henderson, Williams, and Trayanum should all be moving on, so the RB depth chart will even out. Which means that in 2024, the Buckeyes can go back to the aerial attack we’ve grown accustomed to under Ryan Day... But only if my triple option is not wildly successful. Otherwise, Day will need to hire Paul Johnson and go all-in on this thing.
Obviously my If I was in charge scenario, if you will, seems far-fetched. And I get that. It is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. But imagine this, Gene: Devin Brown takes the snap from under center and fakes a handoff to his up man, 230-pound Trayanum. He then sprints left, with Henderson and Williams in-tow. Chop accelerates toward the line of scrimmage, becoming another blocker for Henderson, who receives the pitch just as a defensive end commits to putting his helmet in Brown’s chest. But by then, it’s too late. Henderson has acres of space and makes a long housecall.
It is brilliant. Simply brilliant. And possible only because I am the brains of the operation. What a world.
After spending countless hours in the film room and racking my brain for days on end to figure out what I would do if I was in charge of Ohio State’s football team, the answer became clear and obvious. There is only one way to guarantee that the Buckeyes win a national championship this season, and that is to take away the one potential flaw this team has on the offensive side.
If I was in charge, Ohio State is going to scrap the run game entirely and run out there with six offensive linemen on every play in place of a running back.
Now, you may be wondering, what about the super talented running backs the Buckeyes have on the roster? Well, that’s easy. They’re just going to line up along the line as tight ends! Both TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have enough experience pass-blocking to function as what would be a seventh offensive linemen, and they would have the added bonus of being able to catch passes out of the formation. Throw them in a three-man rotation with Cade Stover, and now we’re really cooking.
In theory, if you really wanted to run the ball for some silly reason, you could always put together some sort of end-around type play design where someone like Henderson or Williams comes across the formation and takes the ball from the quarterback on either a handoff or a pop-pass. Don’t question the legality of all of this either. I have spent years if not decades studying ever inch of the college football rulebook, and all of this is totally within its guidelines if you don’t look at it too hard.
With six or even seven guys up front blocking, whoever wins the Ohio State quarterback job between Kyle McCord or Devin Brown will have unlimited time in the pocket to wait for any one of Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka or the treasure trove of other four and five-star receivers on this roster to find their way open. In my system Evan Pryor would probably move to a full-time wide receiver as well, as both he and Xavier Johnson would open up the play book with a variety of different ways to get them the ball.
I can’t believe the Buckeyes haven’t thought of this before! Ryan Day’s offenses have had some trouble running the football anyway since J.K. Dobbins left for the NFL. Why not just scrap the idea entirely and just go full air-raid with as many offensive lineman blocking up front as you can stomach? I don’t see any way that this idea could fail. It is simply foolproof, and if you don’t agree then you just don't know ball.